Stonehenge by Mayank Chhaya
Every year, the Royal Academy of Arts (RA) in London hosts a much respected summer exhibition based on works submitted by largely unknown artists from around the United Kingdom and the world. RA accepts 12,000 entries, a few hundred of which get chosen by a panel of well-known judges to be exhibited at a coveted event. I plan to enter for 2017.
As part of that plan, I have begun to create a set of canvases, one of which will hopefully catch enough attention of the judges to be featured in the exhibition. Of course, the journey from now to the 2017 exhibition is fraught with heavy odds. Going by what I have seen on shows about these exhibitions, one gets a few seconds to grab the judges’ attention. So the question is whether I should do something consciously designed to grab attention or do what I naturally do. I am leaning toward the second option.
I have a few ideas, one of which has already taken shape unintentionally in the form of a small painting I did recently of Stonehenge. This is acrylic on a sketch pad sheet. The objective now is to scale it up to a bigger canvas. That’s where the rub lies. With some effort, I may be able to reproduce some of the effect in the original in terms of the way the stones look, their slate-black color somewhat reminiscent of the Monolith in Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001” A Space Odyssey’, the somewhat ominous dark grey clouds enveloping the dirty mustard yellow sun and the foreground whose tone I cannot describe. All this happened because I was basically randomly mixing colors while painting this. I do not remember at all what I did. I doubt if the scaled-up version can resemble the original.
Several questions pop up. Should I submit the original small work or create a bigger version of it? If I do indeed paint a bigger version, would I be able to make it look as close to the original as possible? Should I hire an expert forger to forge my small work? (What hubris!) Or, should I do another piece altogether? To be conflicted before knowing of even the remotest possibility that my work might make the cut is rather silly but all art seems silly when it starts.
I am also somewhat partial toward another piece titled ‘City’, which also happens to be of the same sketch pad dimension done in acrylic. I face the same set of challenges in any endeavor to replicate this as I do with Stonehenge. This one was mostly done using a plastic palette knife that cost a few cents. The painting currently hangs in my bedroom and remains among my best works. When I say “best” I am speaking in relation to my talent is a hack and not an artist at all.
City by Mayank Chhaya
There are two other works I like titled ‘Garden Path’ and ‘Garden Path 1’ respectively. Should I submit one of these?
Garden Path by MC
Garden Path 1 by MC
And finally, I am also tempted to do a version of Kubrick’s Monolith. So, do you see my problem now?
I write all this as if a) People actually read my blog and b) Even if they do, they care. That’s the conceit of anyone who writes or paints no matter how subpar.